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Mnena: These Employers Need to Feel Our Pain

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This week I was once again reminded about the cotton candy consistency of some Nigerian jobs. The average Nigerian job is fraught with uncertainty, so much so that the initial euphoria of getting the job is quickly replaced by trepidation.
At your job, you can run a gamut of emotions in a day, from sadness to anger. Anger when you realise that your initial job description might as well not exist. The job descriptions are so vague and always have that one sentence: You may be required to perform duties outside of your normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed. Which might as well translate into, ‘I own you now b***h’. Your friends and family will try and coat it with a ‘but you’re learning’. Don’t let them fool you. You had absolutely no intention of becoming an accountant so why are you drawing up budgets and preparing salary sheets. No intention of being an event planner so why do you now know the cost of renting tents and icing chests. Ogas will change your job title and role with no subsequent training and then set your performance benchmarks on the new position. When you fail at this role that you did not ask for; they will be bewildered (at best) and enraged (at worst).

These Ogas & Madams. Who are they? Usually, they are born into a bubble of privilege which they largely stay within. Quite a number of business owners have either lived, worked and schooled abroad. As they jet from country to country, one wonders if they are made of teflon and the best practices of those countries do not stick. Good habits of paying on time, shorter working hours, respecting workers seem to slide off them once they come back to Naija.

This bubble also keeps them from relating with their workers. They cannot comprehend their workers’ dreams; they cannot imagine their workers having the same dreams that they have for themselves. I recall a former madam of mine asking me what I liked to do. I said travel. And she said well you can go to Ghana. And I just looked at her. Ghana ke? I wanted to go to places like the Seychelles, Mexico, Jamaica. I was dreaming big, and yet I seemed so small to her.

Another incarnation of their classism is the bewilderment that meets you when you ask for a pay rise. That N70,000 salary should be enough. What else do you need to pay for that N70,000 can’t cover? The excuses come fast. We have to pay for A,B,C…X,Y,Z. Yes… we nod with understanding and sympathy and then watch them travel whilst we stay behind and run the company which fuels their trips. We stay behind and work jobs they feel we should be lucky to have. They cannot grasp how you would be better off in another job. Their organization is utopia. Where else can you go? You will be regaled with talk about how people left and where are they now? Earning more than N70,000 that’s where.

With Ogas and Madams you are continually on call. You will receive phone calls at odd times at night about innocuous things that can wait until the next day. I imagine this is because they grew up in homes where they had (and still have) servants at their beck and call. Servants, who can be fired on a whim, people who they talk down to and sometimes insult. They then run their multi million naira companies that way. The owner’s wife doesn’t like you? You’ll come into work and find access to your computer has been revoked. That will be your first inkling that something is wrong. The five step process to dismissal in the employee manual will evaporate. That contract or confirmation letter you fought for will barely cover you like that pastie on Janet Jackson’s boob in the super bowl half time performance.

We also have the group of Ogas who do not appreciate your work and never see the good in what you do. Please do not begin to doubt your abilities; they just feel that you’re not approaching it exactly like they would ergo your work will always be inferior. Any extra effort you make is seen as their due, covered by the salary. Spend out of pocket on company expenses; sleep over at work so that an important update is sorted out. All covered. Rarely is a thank you offered.

Maybe what we need is more Ogas & Madams who literally started from the bottom (sing it Drake!), who know what it is to claw a life out of nothing, whose lives used to be full of uncertainty. But they had that dream; that vision and drive. Maybe we need a better Nigeria that fosters this talent and a more conducive environment where they can thrive and rise to the top. Maybe only then, will our Ogas see themselves in us.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Michael Zhang

Mnena hates quirky things and can't come up with a bio. In any case, here are the basics. Writer. Lover of Small Chops. Fan of Hadley Freeman. Visit her website: Mnena.com  and follow her on Twitter @mnena

47 Comments

  1. nene

    February 4, 2015 at 10:54 am

    now someone needs to write an article about the nigerian employees who don’t know their job descriptions and don’t do their jobs. it’s easy to pick on oga and madam, but nigerian employees are some of the most incompetent i have seen, and it always starts with incompetent managers who can’t create passionate and zealous workers. nigerian employees are also really lazy compared to other parts of the world. i am an employee and i know this from working in 3 different countries.

    • Ivy

      February 4, 2015 at 11:25 am

      Biko, didn’t these employee go through interview process? That is why HR is active or should be in organisations, if you employ someone based on uncle’s sister’s daughter’s niece then you have urself to blame.

    • nene

      February 4, 2015 at 11:55 am

      it’s not about HR, it’s about motivation, there is no motivation from management or from fellow employers. it’s almost like people never feel happy regardless of what they’re doing in nigeria, unless they are the ogas in charge of themselves.

    • nene

      February 4, 2015 at 11:56 am

      it’s not about HR, it’s about motivation, there is no motivation from management or from fellow employees/staff. it’s almost like people never feel happy regardless of what they’re doing in nigeria, unless they are the ogas in charge of themselves.

    • Grace

      February 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      I think it all depends on what u do too. Yeah u may have worked in 2 countries but the mentality u may have will be lame too. I guess u will be that kind of boss she is talking about too. Lazy yeah i agree sometimes but not all. You wanna tell me all the persons who have employed are lazy how much do u pay what are ur expectations and all that. More should be looked more than u seeing Nigerians as lazy.

    • Author Unknown

      February 4, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      Sorry Grace, but how in the world did your comment get this many Likes, while I’m struggling to make sense of it? It’s someone like you that will complain that you were sacked when ‘all you did’ was write a letter to the company’s biggest client.

    • Bella

      February 4, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      It takes two to tango!

    • Blessing Ogaba

      February 5, 2015 at 8:41 am

      Sorry my dear but you are mistaken, I have a boss who fits into the description of the writer very well, I have been working for 3 years now, nothing like salary review, secondly, he doesnt let me go on leave neither does he give me my leave benefits, claiming that if I am tired i should leave, cos there are so many people who are dying to be in my possition.
      I bear all that no problem, but what is killing me the most is that, he brings his children’s school assignment and project to me in the office to solve them, can you Imagine? I will treat the subject, type it and go to a business centre to spiral bound them as i am typing this I have some of his children’s project on my desk. It is really painful and you may not understand it until you experience it.

  2. mimz

    February 4, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Well said! Story of my life and so many others out there. Bosses who tell you “they are doing you a favour” since the employment rate is high. Female bosses stay ruling their organisation based on emotions.

  3. mimz

    February 4, 2015 at 11:03 am

    ***** unemployment rate is high

  4. mz_daniels

    February 4, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Okay, I do not like this article cos I suspect bitterness. A lot of Ogas and Madam’s started at the bottom and are somewhere today. I agree that there are insecure, wicked, manipulative and horrible ogas and madams but darling there are good ones.

    At each phase of your life, there is something required of you to move to the next level. Plan your life, get extra degrees, find out about foreign scholarships and learn all you can from the people around you.

    The Meek shall inherit the earth remember? this is because they are teachable and quick to learn.

    Above all dear, NEVER be bitter and hate ogas/madams or even moan about them cos you’ll NEVER attract what you do not respect.

    I’m a Madam in the making and while I didn’t really start at the bottom ( If your parents paid your fees, you didn’t start at the bottom. Some people paid their way through school and trained their younger ones), I started mid-way.

    Enjoy life dear

    • Darkling

      February 4, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      I appreciate you being a madam in the making but I think you have fully lost the plot of this article. If someone paid your school fees for you that means you didn’t start from the bottom”?? You do know there are orphans who get sponsored or children from villages who get scholarships ba? Of course there are good bosses out there but this focuses on the not so good ones.

      There is nothing about “hate” in this article. It is simply all facts stated here, that can be verified by the amount of people who have identified with it.

      I have been on this side of this article. I worked and school abroad and the writer as well from what I can tell, bosses who just use you and feel you are expendable when you work your ass off just to keep THEM afloat then be treated like crap… nah. If there is ANY bitterness it should be from maltreatment.

      I pray you treat your future employees with respect and dignity because believe it or not, there are bosses out there who live to make you feel like you will never amount to anything because you took that 40k-70k job in the name of “starting out”or worse looking good in front of their friends.

    • Que

      February 5, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      I believe there are enough justifiable arguements on both sides of the employer/employee divide to fill BN for years… I believe from experience that more than 50% of our workforce dont even deserve the jobs they have-peanut ones inclusive; just as I also believe that deliberately witholding salaries and lounging while you do so, should be punishable by law…. but breaking these down will require several posts.. For now these two statements caught my attn, and I will address from an employer perspective…

      “…There is nothing about “hate” in this article. It is simply all facts stated here, that can be verified by the amount of people who have identified with it…..”

      “…from what I can tell, bosses who just use you and feel you are expendable when you work your ass off just to keep THEM afloat then be treated like crap…”

      It is not all facts when it can be disproved,,,,, the writer’s entire assumption that this bubble and bad behaviour always ties back to some form of privilege is very laughable and a sign of one who hasnt attempted walking in the shoes she so eagerly judges! My dear think of it like marriage- No amount of wealth and connection can save you from the peaks and troughs of creating and sustaining a successful marriage or business…. it might insulate you some days, but never always…. in the end the success will come from your willingness to learn and grow….your doggedness, and ability to navigate many waters!…. many people-with or without privileged backgrounds- who think its about ‘chilling at the top’ have crumbled great businesses at the point of succession…… so think well before you go accusing people.

      In your second statement your emphasis on THEM is very telling…. this mentality right here is why many employees fail before they even sign their employment letters… In your mind everything you do in your company is for THEM and THEIR benefit…. surely not for you at all….. that why you keep enduring ALL THEIR crap and the daily traffic to get to and from work, cos you’re soooo selfless…. Kudos!
      – Get real…. ask yourself why you’re holding on to this abusive relationship, despite knowing that your abuser wont change…..
      – If you think your employer doesnt know you feel this way- (Them vs. Us), the joke is on you…cos guess what… many people can smell dedication and truth, just as easily as they can smell desperation and hate… what do you bring to your company?
      – this statement ultimately reflects a work attitude where employees believe they are doing their employers a favour…. so you see how this issue goes both ways??

      I’ve been on both sides…. from getting N5k a month (yes in naira) to paying way above minimum wage to people who didnt see the walls of a uni…. one lesson I have learnt is you will get what you give…. as an employer or employee….. people will take advantage and abuse opportunities regardless of how well you treat them…you have a choice on how to deal….. you can choose to reinvent yourself and keep moving or sit there, moan and pray that your abuser sees the light!

      Case in point my very bright friend has earned under N100k In her growing medium sized firm for about 4years…. I can tell you for free this a very dynamic and valuable person in that firm, if I could afford her I would recruit her without a blink…., if she isnt there, the void is noticeable.. she knows it, her boss knows it, her competitors even say it….after moaning, she returns to status quo….why? I cant answer that fully… but I have told her not to complain again till she has a clear plan what she intemds doing to change the status quo. Employees think dealing with fear is beans, till it cripples them into tolerating crap for decades…. yet you dont think the person who beat fear amongst other obstacles to create opportunities for themselves and others, is deserving of empathy…. enjoy.

    • Que

      February 5, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      *…undeserving of empathy’

  5. Missie

    February 4, 2015 at 11:49 am

    So true! Always expecting you to be at their beck and call. Some will turn you into their personal maids /nannies with no consideration whatsoever for your personal time. Have you noticed how they treat those who studied abroad differently? Knowing they cannot get away with such infringemen. Wicked people

  6. Grace

    February 4, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Story of my life….like seriously. It is very pathetic and sad. We are been treated like slaves and they still make u feel they are just helping u. They reign curses on u not caring who u are and all that. Dare to come late to work(8;05am ) and u will u get a query but no closing time. Because ur boss is still in his offices laughing and watching TV with some of his useless friends u gotta be there till he leaves wether u married or not. Wether u stay afar or not. No pension, no leave no payment for overtime,no public holidays observed nothing. We just work because we need the pay. We gotta pay bills. Except i decide to be an Aristotle but for how long?I am sad sha very very sad.

  7. Didi

    February 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    @ivy. My dear its not as easy as you say o. 1 HR Consultant recruited for my company before i came in as the HR Manager & believe me, the people i met are practically dummies, just a handful actually know their onions. Oya allow this people do their work na, for whr! You recommend policies as applied globally, if her ‘yoruba manager’ (MD is yoruba) doesn’t ok it, she won’t either. When everything turns out messed up, MD will start appealing to us to assist meanwhile the person she put @ the helm of affairs is frustrating the efforts of everybody.
    @nene. I know my job description but my madam @ the top is doing everybody’s work for them n as a sharp geh, you shall continue until e tire u while i focus on developing myself & looking for an alternative…i no fit shout mbok.

    • Busarni

      February 4, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      @ Didi; kpele i understand; she is basically micromanaging you guys. what they fail to understand is that it limits success.

  8. Tola

    February 4, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Your article totally gets my life. OMG! Thanks for this.

  9. Brown

    February 4, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Not all employers are “privileged”. Some just push their employees to get them to do their best. I certainly won’t let some lazy ass person put a business that took time, money and hard work to build just so I can be employer of the year. When business is good, we’ll all enjoy it otherwise we all better work like mad to keep it afloat.

    • Brown

      February 4, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      sorry *put a business that took time, energy and hard work to build*

    • Brown

      February 4, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      *at risk*

  10. debs

    February 4, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Gosh. hit is on point. do I know you?

  11. sisi

    February 4, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    oh wooooow!!!!! this my former boss in a good write up. that woman is as mean as hell… if she can turn the HR into her personal maid, how much more the members of staff… forget all those letter of appointment and all. she no send anyone. imagine selling a piece of land for 11million and getting 13,725 as commission? and your offer letter says 5% commission…

  12. Tayo the Mayor

    February 4, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Let’s be honest, if you schooled, worked or lived abroad, your bubble of privilege won’t let you see the issues written by the author clearly. Most of the points she mentioned are true. While it is true that most Nigerian employees are lax (due to our educational system and way of life) , Nigerian employers should also not pay peanuts and expect passion and motivation from their employees. Remuneration should equal expectation biko.

    • Maranatha

      February 7, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      I schooled and worked abroad, and I know what the writer is talking about , but the wide generalisation is what is irrational, many many foreign trained employers make excellent bosses, talking from experience!

  13. yummie

    February 4, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    U nailed it dear, d one dat got me is, dey travel out if d country and u will b ere working out ur a** nd all u hear is derz no money of which u knw wat comes into d coy on a weekly basis. D most annoyin part is delay in payin salaries. Dey r wicked….. Nd most of their kids r dumd.

  14. Zeal

    February 4, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    hahahahahahahahaha. Nice write up, you said exactly how it is and how it happens which makes it so sad. Most of them worked abroad and enjoyed it but never do they apply same when they start theirs in Nigeria, rather they will use you till there’s nothing left of you.after all them dey pay you na (pay you peanuts). Most of started from the scratch and still are very MEAN. May God help us.

  15. hmmm

    February 4, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Hmmm, I currently worked in a company like this in Lagos (20 years old with offices in all the geo-political zones in Nigeria), the ni**** in charge frowns at everything; no employment letters (he feels you can use it against him), use of appropriate software (he’s afraid they will steal his info), no pension, no HMO, no leave allowance (he considers you irrelevant if you go away for more than a week), he sacks flimsily (dude sacked pple for closing 5mins before time even after taking permission from HR plus you could be fired if you drive a “BIG CAR”). Did someone say 13th month salary? LOL
    Some senior staff members made a request for end of the year party last December a lengthy via e-mail, his response was “you guys should be lucky you have a job, stop disturbing with these irrelevances. I hope you guys know we are downsizing in January…….”
    Hmmm, even among thieves, there is still honour, they say, well dude never owe salaries. Oh yes! The downsizing is on as we speak, massively self.
    To each man his own. Some of you know me Lool let me stop.

  16. MHN Humanity

    February 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    This article hit the nail on the head. Thank you for this. Sharing it now!

  17. Anon

    February 4, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    This article got me very angry in my spirit lol…..my first and now past experience was totally awful….at first it was great then it went down hill… especially with the owing of salaries….i mean you owe somebody and you still have time to party and do all sorts….then you have the guts to expect me to show dedication and commitment….when you clearly have no regard for my well being…some ppl should just be left to answer to God.

  18. D

    February 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    So I have worked for 4 companies total in my life as a career individual noted none of them were/are in Nigeria and learned something in all of them. One thing we have to realise is that in Nigeria, labour, that is, man labour is a resource that is in excess (supply exceeds demand) and just like anything in excess it is bound to affect pricing (See oil prices). But I have to say I have been appalled by the way people run their businesses/organization in Nigeria, A good business person knows: it is “people, process and then product”. (The profit) That is, people should be numero uno, having the right people and giving them the right things they need to do a good job is paramount, that includes, a reasonable pay check, benefit package (if available and according to your company’s pocket size), a good night’s rest and most importantly respect. I however, had some issues with some of the points raise, you don’t just walk to my office and request a raise. YES you don’t!!!. Asking for a raise even in the western world is serious business, you better have your T’s crossed and I’s dotted. You have to tell me why you deserve that raise, first look at the market, is this conducive for your company at the time, is a raise feasible/realistic?? You might be thinking your oga/madam is travelling so there is $$$ when in reality the $$$ might not be coming from the business. Then what are your colleagues in your area of expertise and with similar job descriptions and experience making? if they are making the same or you are making more then you have to tell me what else you are bringing to the table that makes you believe you should be earning more. I don’t care about the fact you have a family now, that is not your oga/madam’s business because guess what at the end of the day they are there to run a successful business and make sure you do have a job and a paycheck.
    In the aspect of giving you a new role without proper training and grade your performance based on the new role, it is not only in Nigeria that is done. I work for a multinational company based in the western world. My current title and what my performance was based on last year and this year is not what my job description states at all. I had been asked to assist someone that was leading a group, well the day I sat down to tell my boss we should both give it a 6 months trial (to see if we could both work well together) she, the person I was to assist walked out, I got everything (assistant and lead responsibilities) and since this is a position critical to the success of my company and not one they could hold off to send me for training, I had to learn on the go, the only other person in the company that had worked in this capacity is in another state. It is been almost 2 years that happened. At my last review I exceeded expectation but no pay raise or promotion. Yes I had a talk with my manager but nothing happened and I made sure I had my case ready, the thing is everyone agrees I deserve not only a raise but a promotion as well not because I am married but because I am bringing to the table what a person 2 levels ahead of me should be bringing but I will not trade the experience for anything. I am well known in my company because I chose to take a risk by taking the job and by God’s grace although it was difficult and sometimes overwhelming I more than succeeded on the job and did better than the person that I took over from. I am moving on to a different position one that I actually do not have the educational background for but I was given this new job because of what the hiring manager had heard from my manager and other people in the company. I did not apply he contacted me on his own.
    I apologize for the long epistle but this author seem to have a thing against Ogas/Madams that may have had things a little better growing up and have some how “made it” but having their own business. Not that I am condoning people that speak down to their employees or treat their employees poorly, the ghana comment though got me laughing, maybe she feels Ghana is a good place to start. I mean we can not all start with Seychelles, people sef we dey travel never reach Seychelles.

  19. obitalker

    February 4, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    This is what happens when you work for a one man business, with lil ethics. Nigeria labour laws are almost non-existence so things are harder for workers. I hope in the future it gets better.

  20. Takeseveralseats

    February 4, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    This article is so true!! I work 12 hours a day and my boss still feels you aren’t working hard enough. His mentality is I pay you, so I own you! This attitude really upsets me. Then he calls for a meeting with staffs and curses them out using foul, unprintable language!! Gosh!! I wish I could smack him in the face sometimes.
    He uses his drivers like slaves. The poor fellas(3 of them are attached to him) resume by 5.30 and close by 2am when he finally gallivants home from his useless waka and they work Mondays to Sundays straight for 2 weeks before getting one day off ( mean goat! no wonder they keep taking off like the wind!)
    Salary slashing nko? dont get me started on that.!!

    • Boogie Woogie

      February 5, 2015 at 12:07 am

      *staff*

  21. Motivated

    February 4, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    I get this alot from my dad #BUT YOU ARE LEARNING# I always reply #But for how long????#

  22. Author Unknown

    February 4, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    “Maybe what we need is more ogas & madams who literally started from the bottom (sing it Drake!), who know what it is to claw a life out of nothing, whose lives used to be full of uncertainty.”
    Unfortunately Mnena, I find those whom you describe only end up joining the “silver spoon” type you mention once they get to the top. Even Drake would be hugely disappointed 🙂 The Nigerian workplace is simply a reflection of the larger society. Our cultures while promoting respect for the elderly somehow doesn’t seem to do the same for mutual respect for the next man. Maybe they do and people have missed the memo for centuries. We’re ages away from becoming a truly civilised society. Unfortunately, too many of us are too busy trying to make it “like the Ogas and Madams” that we ignore fighting for the average man, which majority of us will fall under. LOL @ going to Ghana on holidays. I shouldn’t be laughing at the distasteful context in which it was used, but I can’t help it. Tell your madam that Ghana has turned the corner from what it once was 🙂

  23. ShokiBobo

    February 4, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I no fit laugh, the points you raised are very true. I live abroad and my dear, I can tell you that Nigerian bosses are the same across the board even at big companies. I have made it my life long goal to never work for a Nigerian Oga again no matter the amount they are paying me. I do this to protect the little self esteem I have left and I thank God that I have done pretty good at it.

    Nigerian bosses (at least the ones I personally know and hear my friend speak of) are notorious for not respecting signed documents or job descriptions among other factors you’ve mentioned. Now I know that it is not possible for me to meet every Nigerian boss so my experience may be considered parochial to some people. Still, I don’t find it unwise to put these factors into consideration when making job related decisions.

    To iron out some of the other points you’ve raised, most companies abroad including Nigerian owned in most cases pay their employees on time but that’s due to the favorable financial system and great corporate laws implemented in their native countries. Most companies/businesses abroad have access to low interest loans that helps them cover overhead cost like paying employees on time especially during hard times among other things. The corporate laws of the country these companies are based in also ensure that your oga doesn’t take his side chick on an all expense trip to Tahiti while you stay unpaid for 2 months after put in 60-80 hour consecutive work weeks. So In a sense, you can’t put all the blame on your oga for getting away unpunished after indulging such practices in Nigeria. To add, Nigeria’s colossal unemployment rate adds insult to injury. So a lot of people think thrice about telling their ogas to “kiss my a**” when he tells you to buy corn for him at the road side when your offer letter clearly states your position as “Accountant”.

    Well, if you live in Nigeria where a lot of people aren’t lucky to escape the perils of working for a Nigerian boss, especially during the early stages of life, I will advice you to keep your head down, shun all wasteful activities and liabilities, get some extra education/training on the side when you can and save enough money to find sometime you can do on your own that provides sustainable income while you work for your Oga.

  24. Jagbajantis

    February 4, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    In the chick flick “The Devil Wears Prada” the main character Anne Hathaway is confronted with one of the ultimate career dilemmas: you have just landed your dream job, but you have a boss who must have originated from the deepest pits of Hades.

    We have all been there – everyone can relate to Ms. Hathaway’s grueling experience at the hand of Meryl Streep’s character. You will have sympathizers sigh at your tales of suffering, as they shake their heads pitifully before they give you sledgehammer advice: “The economy is tough – at least you have a job. Be thankful and suck it up; besides you are only with your boss from 9am to 5pm.” From Monday to Friday, that is only 40 hours out of a 168 per week, not including time spent commuting. Yeah, but what about quality time? Is it not possible to do something you love and get paid for it, without having been made to feel like you should be grateful for the privilege of owning an office badge?

    Some bosses do not pay their staff salaries at all. You join a company and you are not any given training or orientation, then you resume your duties. Your bank details are collected by the Human Resource Department or as is the usual practice in Nigeria, an account is forcefully opened for you bringing your number of bank accounts to about 5. Your first salary is paid, and your take home pay after FIRS deducts its due makes your cringe. You work your ass off putting in between 50-70 hours per week, including weekends and public holidays sometimes. Or whiling away precious time at force office building events where some employees are more preoccupied with office politics gossip. Then you hit a wall. You insert your ATM card into the ATM machine at your local bank on the last Friday of the 2nd month, and see the balance: zero naira. You removed card, ignoring the daggered stares of people on the ATM queue, re-insert card and re-check balance. You even check your phone to see if you missed the credit alert text. Nada. You are as broke as the elevators used to be in 1004 in the 90s.

    This process continues on the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th month. Meanwhile your boss carries on like nothing is wrong, even adding a new Range Rover jeep to his fleet of wonders on wheels. He even remodels his Lekki home and sends his kids to Jand for midterm breaks. Some co-workers even spread rumors that he has been sighted painting the town red at Cactus, and having a blast at exclusive restaurants, travelling to the South of France for weekends, and chasing runs girls all around. His whole company turnover is going to runs girls for leg-overs.

    When some members of staff confront him, he becomes aggressive like Asari-Dokubo and reacts like he is annoyed about their effrontery. He still expects them to show up at work even if they have to beg, steal or borrow. Or get lost. Preferrably the latter.

    I know a situation where the boss was not paying salaries to every worker; just those who curried favour with him or performed office-snitching on his behalf. He was also paying one particular girl who he was sleeping with an additional allowance. He called it a “performance bonus.”

    • chu

      February 5, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      lol at ‘performance bonus’

  25. Anon

    February 4, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    “Maybe what we need is more Ogas & Madams who literally started from the bottom (sing it Drake!), who know what it is to claw a life out of nothing, whose lives used to be full of uncertainty.”

    Trust me dear, this group of Ogas & Madams are the worst. Their standard excuse is – “I was paid close to nothing on my first job and I used to trek home.” The Oga-Madam mentality has got nothing to do with a person’s “privileged” or otherwise “unprivileged” background. It is the inherent selfishness in most of us.

  26. cti

    February 4, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Nigeria has a long way to go…this is so disheartening, I thought there was a labor union, Are they just for government workers?
    All this boils down to ‘Lawlessness”. Where there is no law and execution of it, some human beings feel they are “gods”
    Such a shame.

  27. imose

    February 5, 2015 at 1:12 am

    I can relate with these comments here… keep up the hope all… *sigh

  28. tunmi

    February 5, 2015 at 3:31 am

    Reminds me of Gidi Up when Tokunbo got money for his start-up. Instead of paying the workers, he lavished on himself.

  29. Mabel

    February 6, 2015 at 2:51 am

    You will never know what a job is truly like until you start doing it. Frankly, the best thing anybody can do in life is to find their passion, if you can make money doing what you love that is the best existence, anything else is simply hell. Working just for the sake of money is not a happy experience, work should ignite some joy and passion in a person. Realistically, that is often not the case.

  30. Teona

    February 9, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    I know of a certain oga who after 10 failed businesses, finally made it big to become a CEO of a popular company. You would think his humble beginnings would make him sympathetic to his staff – NOOOO – he treats his Nigerian staff like sh but dares not try that with his American staff. Anyways money still makes people forget their humble beginnings!

  31. Koffie

    February 10, 2015 at 7:36 am

    My boss is the exact opposite of all the horrors I’ve read here. We work long hours but he always says he doesn’t feel you should resume until you’re well rested but God bless you that you’ll resume by 10am and still be unproductive, you go hear am. It’s a small firm and he doesn’t send us on unnecessary errands. He makes his coffee himself. We were once at a meeting at a bank’s headquarters and the boss called a random employee to make tea/coffee for all 5 of us at the meeting. I’m sure the poor man didnt sign up for that. Imagine my shock that with all the suit, this employee of a big bank was making tea for his boss’ guests. My boss is always considerate sha and he says thank you when he makes you do extra work. The only bad part is the long hours but I’m happy to do it cos I love my job.

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